There is a place where adversity hurts so deeply, you feel it physically. When you get there, you’ll know it. You’ve never felt anything like it before. Although you are neither ill nor injured, the pain is almost unbearable. Your heart hurts, and so does your body. You’ve entered the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4.
This is a place like no other. You have everything to fear, yet you don’t. It seems that you are alone, yet you’re not. It’s a place we’ll do almost anything to avoid, yet we’ll all go there at one time or another. It’s a place where we fear we’ll lose everything, yet we actually gain more than we lose.
I thought I had been through hurt and hardship…until I entered the Valley. But those times were just precursors to this moment. How would I ever feel normal again? What even was normal? The pain was excruciating.
Yet, a still, small voice rung out deep in my heart. “Trust Me, trust Me, trust Me.” I’ve heard that voice before. I’ve heard it when it seemed my world was falling apart. I’ve heard it when I wasn’t quite sure what to do next. I’ve heard it during times of loss and betrayal. The voice of the Lord is the one I hear in the Valley.
Though it is darker than any place I’ve ever been, there’s a strange comfort – the comfort of God’s rod and staff. This dark Valley is a place of paradox, where light and even daring hope begin to emerge out of the blackness.
I don’t really want to go through this Valley, but as I begin to traverse it, I know I am not alone. And I trust that on the other side, there is beauty I could never behold apart from this painful journey.